Title: Girls’ Night Out
Author: Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: 24th July 2018
This book was received from the publisher in return for an honest review
About the book:
For estranged friends Ashley, Natalie, and Lauren, it’s time to heal the old wounds between them. Where better to repair those severed ties than on a girls’ getaway to the beautiful paradise of Tulum, Mexico? But even after they’re reunited, no one is being completely honest about the past or the secrets they’re hiding. When Ashley disappears on their girls’ night out, Natalie and Lauren have to try to piece together their hazy memories to figure out what could have happened to her, while also reconciling their feelings of guilt over their last moments together.
Was Ashley with the man she’d met only days before? Did she pack up and leave? Was she kidnapped? Or worse—could Natalie or Lauren have snapped under the weight of her own lies?
As the clock ticks, hour by hour, Natalie and Lauren’s search rushes headlong into growing suspicion and dread. Maybe their secrets run deeper and more dangerous than one of them is willing—or too afraid—to admit.
What I Thought:
Lauren, Natalie and Ashley met at college and became the closest of friends, until Lauren’s husband dies unexpectedly and they fall out at his funeral. Lauren hasn’t spoken to Ashley and Natalie for over a year when Ashley invites her to Mexico – one last chance for the three women to try and mend their broken friendship – but when Natalie wakes up on the beach with no memory of the night before and Ashley is nowhere to be found it soon becomes clear that this trip is not going to have the outcome they were all hoping for!
Girls’ Night Out uses a non-linear narrative to tell the story, with the chapters moving backwards and forwards, before and after Ashley’s disappearance. The chapters are also told from the points of view of the different friends – it’s a narrative style that requires a little attention at the start of each chapter to take in whose story you are reading, and where in the overall timeline the chapter fits but one that I think worked well in this novel. I know some people will prefer a straightforward timeline for the plot but I do enjoy the back and forth, slowly filling in the gaps and discovering if any of my guesses about what could have happened are right.
The characters – the book focuses primarily on the three women with some other characters who play fairly significant roles. I think it would be fair to say (for me at least) none of the ladies were completely likeable, I certainly had problems with all three, although some problems were bigger than others. Ashley seemed to be the central figure of the three friends, the one that both Natalie and Lauren were drawn to, both seemed to want to claim Ashley as their best friend, with little regard to the other, almost to the point of intentionally damaging the other’s friendship. At the same time Ashley didn’t come across as deserving of having these two grown women basically fighting over her, she came across as manipulative and selfish, she certainly seems to love the attention but I’m not convinced she deserved it.
Then we come to the supporting characters. Marco takes a shine to Ashley when the group reach Mexico and swiftly inserts himself into their group, to the annoyance of both Natalie and Lauren. You can’t help but see their point, they’ve come to Mexico to rescue their friendship and Ashley is more keen on spending time with Marco, but is he just an irritating interloper or is he something darker? And the husbands – I won’t say too much about them as I don’t want to spoil any of the plot but they both have parts that irritated me as well.
I think it’s important that I say here that while I didn’t particularly love any of the characters that certainly doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the book. I did! It’s a great piece of escapism – much like watching any of The Real Housewives of… shows – You don’t like all of the women all the time, you might even completely dislike one or two but the drama! That drama is fun to watch, for me this book is the paperback equivalent of The Real Housewives.
Would I Recommend?
I really enjoyed Girls’ Night Out, this narrative style is something that I’m seeing more frequently and while it’s not for everyone I find I quite like the non-linear storyline. I found the story to be an interesting mystery even without the darkness that I normally look for in my mysteries and thrillers! Certainly a great bit of summer escapism!
About The Authors
Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke have been best friends for over 25 years and survived high school and college together. They’ve co-authored four novels, including the bestseller THE GOOD WIDOW. Liz lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and five rescue dogs.
Connect With Liz and Lisa
Website // Twitter // Instagram // Facebook
Want to buy it?
As always if you’ve read the book let me know what you thought! If you’ve not read it yet will my review convince you to pick it up?